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Belarus President Threatens Foreign Media

Belarus -- President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is sworn at a special session of the parliament in Minsk, 20Jul1994
Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka uttered menacing words about foreign media at a government meeting today, RFE's Belarus service reports.

He said the media's coverage of the deepening financial coverage had been "alarmist," and criticized the "leading" role that media, and particularly foreign media, were playing.

His criticism appeared to be directed at the Russian media, since many Belarusians watch Russian television.

He also criticized Belarusian journalists working for foreign organizations and ordered the government to "make sure those media organizations no longer work on our territory."

He added, "It's not because we want to shut them up." In a clear reference to the political and economic crisis that began with the December 2010 elections, he said, "All this panic was fueled by them."

While dozens of journalists in Belarus have been detained, interrogated, harassed and jailed since the December polls, Lukashenka's words today represent his most direct verbal attack on foreign media in the country.

Click on RFE's Belarus service website for further coverage.